How Would You Hide This???

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,885
Bedford, TX
#1
All,

Long Story short, I have a third car garage that I converted into a woodworking shop after my kids left home. The garage had a door at either end, so you could actually drive through and into the back yard.
When I made it a workshop, I installed a window AC unit in the non-operational rear door. This was 20 years ago, and since it was in the backyard and no one could see it.. it worked out fine.

After we put in our pool, it is now a huge eyesore...

So my question to you is.. What would you do to hide this?

The only rule is that the AC unit has to stay in the same basic location.



Click on pic to enlarge...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
#4
Lol, Brian. Is that brick or vented rattan?

The "guerrilla" hide tactic for me would be to install brackets and a garage-door sized rattan screen all the way to the ground....provided that you have enough space left for airflow, and assumming you want the AC to still work. Cammoflauge sides with tall planters.

Variant B would be a resin or stained lattice work structure/box around the entire door with 3 or 4 pots of big Mandevilles climbing it.

Expensive variant would be to put a Futjitsu Heat Pump in the work shop to address all heat and cooling needs (about 4 k installed) and put a nice triple slider in where the garage door is so that you have a beautiful view while you're puttering and realize you should be swimming instead ;)
 

Chemnut

In The Industry
Apr 5, 2017
231
Maine
#7
That old window shaker is costing a fortune in electricity I bet. Go with a mini split. Easily installed and an 8,000 btu should be less than 2000. If you can do it yourself you could get one under grand. Mitsubishi was the leader but they haven't done as much upgrading as LG.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
#8
^True...mine cost what it did because it was sized for an 850-foot studio, included labor, and was rated to -15 degrees etc. Jim's needs would likely be simpler.

Jim, I had converted an 1100 SF mechanics shop on the far end of my rambler to make a home studio, with a small single stall at the back for hubby's collector car.

While I know for your wood shop you were originally posting to keep the AC unit, if you're handy and can do a DIY, a heat pump will repay pretty quickly in electric savings compared to the AC unit. And keep you nice and warm in winter ;)

In our shop-to-nicer-shop conversion, when we took out the front garage door, we relocated an 8' bow bay window and put batten around it...the house is batten board so it looks like it was always there ;) I wanted a triple slider walk out but the guys didn want so much sun (computer glare) and we already had a matching bay bow in the back we wanted to remove and replace with a big picture window.

With all that said, and given your druthers to work around existing AC and garage door, I've since thought up some other ninja type options...which given my foreclosure rambler, I've gotten good at to varying degrees of success ;)

The door needs to be a color that blends down to your brick base to make it disappear, eg maybe terra cotta or brown. Once you neutralize the door color, I'd be tempted to put or build a nice tall storage box the same color or a shade also picked from your brick (to store pool tools, noodles, etc.) in the inset area next to the AC, and then using lattice for airflow, box in (generously) the AC, but build a towel rack along the bottom of the box. To pretty it up, you could put a nice Tera cotta planter between the tall cabinet and the a/c box/towel hanger. And maybe add one or two small, attractive wall hangings to the area, garden art style.

Another idea would be to build a lattice bulkhead across the entire width after neutralizing the door tone, then dropping nice sunsetter style patio lights and building a walk up "bar counter" storage area under which you could conceal a little beer fridge and run the electric through the garage door. Beside that, cupboard doors that open to drink mix shelf etc. To pretty it up you could top the counter with some kind of nice stone. You could then further neutralize the garage door with a bit of fun signage. Etc.

You see what kind if honey-do list you can get into with these kinds of questions, right? Lol.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2009
22,925
SouthWest Alabama
#9
I'd frame the whole garage door in and put ship lap siding on it. It'll still be there, but it won't look bad. You could board and batten it, but I think the ship lap would look better.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
#10
Jim, I also have a window unit in my garage that I converted to a game room. I know it's not very efficient, and if I had my choice today, I'd replace it with a ductless system - something like LG or Mitsubishi. The thinner, streamline unit would be placed on the ground off to the side, and I'm sure they're more efficient.

If that's not an option right now, I think a creative lattice project like SW noted above would be suitable. You could experiment with looks while not breaking the bank and still allowing good airflow through the unit.

BTW - I see you got that camera icon to work for your pic thumbnail. 2 days ago I got 8 of them to work. Yesterday - none. :(
 

keithw

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2007
303
Virginia Beach
#11
I would put a bar in front of the garage door and then hang a lot of beads and fronds over the garage door down to the ground. It would look like a nice tropical backdrop for the bar.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 4, 2014
4,340
San Clemente, CA
#13
Well Jim, looks like your getting a new HVAC system and moving it to the side wall.

Since your time commitments are with TFP now, the woodshop needs to go. Replace the door with a glass panel sectional roll up door and make that garage into the ultimate man cave/TFP response dungeon. You could even have a small little work bench where you pre-wire and program Easytouch panels for those in need.

When things get too intense to handle it's just a quick running start and straight into the pool for a refreshing swim... then it's back to the forum for you :whip:
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
#14
^If you're going to go that far, why not a nice triple slider walkout to enjoy poolside breezes while moderating threads ;)

Come to think of it, clearly the wood shop needs to go in favor of an indoor/outdoor poolside kitchen and bar ;)
 
OP
OP
Jimrahbe

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,885
Bedford, TX
#15
All great ideas but...

The workshop stays as I have projects scheduled out way beyond my "best if used by date"..

I could add a new AC unit, but there would be no place to put the outside unit except in my neighbor's yard and I'm pretty sure he would notice.

I plan on doing this myself so bricking up the opening, although the best looking idea, is out.

I'll use your ideas and see what I can come up with to disguise or hide the entire garage door and AC unit.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
308
Dallas, TX
#17
I'm a big fan of horizontal wood for an accent wall and it sounds like you probably own all the tools just across the wall to do it with. I'm also a fan of the mini-splits, they are just catching on here, been in other countries for years. Since our neighbor won't appreciate it, it could still be just on the ground there behind the accent wall you build. It won't stick out as much and probably much quieter than the current unit. You can dress the wall up or down as much as you like.

 

shakham

Well-known member
Aug 23, 2016
45
Central, NJ
#18
I'm focusing on low cost options, and trying not to repeat ideas others have mentioned...

Option 1:
---------
One easy and cheap way would be to pull the AC into your garage, and put a box around it on the inside. That way the AC basically fits inside an enclave and is flush with the outside wall. Then you just cover the front with a grating or something that doesn't restrict airflow too much.

If you make the box big enough, it should allow the AC to get enough airflow around it. I'm sure it will negatively impact efficiency, but at least it will work.

Option 2
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Build a faux storage unit around it. If you make it flush to the brick on the right, and give the left side a 45 degree angle, it may stand out less.

Option 3
---------
Replace AC with a thinner unit, and do option 1 or 2.